October 15, 2010

A festival misfit

I am not a great fan of festivals.

Hindu festivals mostly are drawn from mythology, and I treat that as a story ( an Indian fairy tale, if you may) and that I do not see how is supposed to be worshiped very devoutly. Its a time to gather, a common holiday for family to meet up in the craziness of the world, but anything more that, I am not too sure. This might also be the case as my parents have never lived in India, have never been a festival celebrating family also.

This is to the extend that, for us, Diwali was just another day, as both my brother and myself hated the sound/light of crackers and the smell of crackers too. We mostly just stood on the balcony looking at the sky for the far away rockets going up and were happy at the distant view. 

Pooja was looked forward to, as all books would be taken away from us on Ashtami night and there is just no work to do except play and enjoy. On Vijayadashmi, we would write ' Hari Shree Ganapataye Namah : ' and sit down to study for a few hours as a norm after taking the books back duly blessed.

Vishu is new year in Kerala, and on this day you just wear new clothes, and elders give money to all young for a good start to the year. Early morning on this day,  the first thing you are to see is the 'Vishu Kanni' which is all the good things in life, fruits, gold, money, rice, flowers, a mirror ....essentially a grand set up to ensure you see all the good stuff on the first moment of the new year.This again has really no religious significance, its just a celebration, a gathering and thats about it.

Then comes Onam, where we have never done anything, but eat a good meal. This was looked forward to, as living outside India banana leaves are a not a common appearance on the dining table, and eating on it is a luxury. The number of dishes prepared are phenomenal and the taste is just different on a banana leaf. But, again no religious significance whatsoever. This I am sure is not because we were outside Kerala, it is just the way things are in our family. And, I guess that's why I find it very difficult to associate a pooja of a particular deity with any festival as per mythology. I have just never ever known any of the stories, whatever I know is through my own curiosity. In fact, my parents never thought is important to pass on these pooja specifications and I guess they were also not interested in following it.


  1. OMG, did you steal thoughts right out of my mind, Aathira? I'm such a festival misfit myself.. and like you said, my parents didn't have a clue on tradition or customs, which has mostly worked well for us, but sometimes, I do feel bad about 'not knowing' what is supposed to be done!!!

  2. You know what - that could be me! it was exactly the same for me growing up!

    The only tiny difference was that I hated Navami because I was not allowed to touch books - not even story books or newspapers and that used to be really be tough on me :) But otherwise, everything you wrote about could have been my memories!

    And festivals - in my opinion is more fun this way, where we enjoy what we like and do not do what we don't want to, rather than having to follow strict guidelines and fearing the very worst in case one didn't.

  3. Even though I too dont know much about the poojas and guidelines (which even if I knew I wouldnt have followed) I simply love festival..holiday + good food + shopping + family = awesome time!

  4. kind of the same thing here.. my parents do celebrate Onam and Vishu but I guess it just never was a big deal... Honestly, ashamed as I am to admit it, I dont know the dates of either :S


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